On the 27th of July 1656, Baruch Spinoza, one of histories most important philosophers and the father of Biblical Criticism, was ostracised from the Jewish community of Amsterdam.
It was not the first time that one of his family was banished from their lands on religious grounds.
For he was a member of the Portuguese Jewish community who had settled in the Netherlands. They had chosen the Low Countries following D. Manuel’s decree of 1496, which essentially forced the Jewish population into exile, and the later Inquisition that occurred from 1536 until as late as 1821. This was an incredibly oppressive time for Portugal’s religious minorities. However, thankfully, modern Portugal is a tolerant society, politically secular and Porto itself is the location of Iberia’s largest synagogue, Kadoorie Mekor Haim.
Come pass through the area which housed the old Jewish Quarter, complete with a plaque acknowledging and apologising for Portugal’s dark past, on both our Historical and Cultural Tours. (Click Here) These run at 10:00, 11:30 and 16:30 everyday!